I’m just going to jump into my thoughts today before I lose the clarity in which they have struck me, although I must admit I do not know where they are going:
Existence can be defined as a being in a certain state, the existence of multiple beings is another aspect of this same state. Also, the nonexistence of a being(s) is an aspect of this certain state. The coming into existence of a being is merely the shifting from one aspect to another. While this makes sense to me theoretically, how “real” is this certain state? What are the implications of this concept?
To probe the latter question first, it suggests the presence of a wholeness or oneness radically different than our observed “reality” of differentiation. In other words, my culture (European-American) views “reality” as constituted of a myriad distinct elements. The statements relegate beings to a more minor role in existence. The core of reality is the state which is fundamentally singular with aspects dependent upon angle from which it is interpreted.
The problem with expressing this idea, is that English (and Indo- European languages in general) are by nature multitudinous. This is not surprising as language both reflects and informs how we experience “reality”. Yet the confines of this language structure, both in its organizing and explanatory principles, forces discussions of holistic “reality” into a discussion of a “model of reality” rather than a discussion of “reality”.
On the other hand, it has become increasingly clear over the last 100 yrs that our senses do not necessarily reveal the entirety of “reality” – just pick up a book on quantum physics. To further touch on quantum physics, at least briefly, let’s consider something easily observable, like a mountain, from a multitudinous stance. At first glance, a mountain appears to be an object (being) “full” in and of itself. Yet as we look closer the mountain is actually a conglomeration of countless diverse parts- stones, trees, roots, pebbles, dust, water, etc. Take a single stone from that mountain, it also appears “full” in and of itself, yet when viewed closely it is mad of smaller particles (atoms), and when they are viewed closely they are mostly vacuum, merely the space between electrons, protons, etc. within quantum physics there is a concept called “nonseparability” that in essence suggests that the all of these observable “objects” are not distinct objects at all, but rather exist only in as much that they are entangled with the state of the whole Universe.
But why, if everything is in essence entangled in a singular state, do we experience things multitudinously? My instinct, and I think there may even be a theory that lays this out in detail, is that it is so far beyond our abilities to perceive it in its full complexity. It is a limitation of our senses and mental capabilities. In other words, how we experience “reality” is too dependent upon our physical limitations for us to perceive anything beyond. Even the tools we make to expand our limitations must translate “reality” back into the confines of our limitations. I would also posit that if we did experience something outside our limitations, we would not know how to communicate it with any clarity to ourselves, and certainly not others. We would be forced to make the experience fit within our built in limitations and thus negate all that did not fit within those confines.
I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the religious studies point of view. Buddhists and various other mystics throughout history have been tackling this conundrum for years, within the confines of their belief systems, of course. They have their own methods of communicating and defining the disparity and techniques to break free from physical limitations and directly experience "wholeness" and/or "nothingness".
My final thought, why are we so focused on "breaking through" to ultimate "reality"? Why not revel in the inherent mystery of reality instead?
Eric in a Word: sockdolager
Book of the Day: Soul Made Flesh - Carl Zimmer
Song of the Day: I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman - The White Stripes
Religious Figure of the Day: Sekhmet
Sketch medium: graphite, rooibos, white out, and blue marker on card stock